Deep learning and its role in COVID-19 medical imaging

Intell Based Med. 2020 Dec;3:100013. doi: 10.1016/j.ibmed.2020.100013. Epub 2020 Nov 4.


COVID-19 is one of the greatest global public health challenges in history. COVID-19 is caused by the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) and is estimated to have an cumulative global case-fatality rate as high as 7.2% (Onder et al., 2020) [1]. As the SARS-CoV-2 spread across the globe it catalyzed new urgency in building systems to allow rapid sharing and dissemination of data between international healthcare infrastructures and governments in a worldwide effort focused on case tracking/tracing, identifying effective therapeutic protocols, securing healthcare resources, and in drug and vaccine research. In addition to the worldwide efforts to share clinical and routine population health data, there are many large-scale efforts to collect and disseminate medical imaging data, owing to the critical role that imaging has played in diagnosis and management around the world. Given reported false negative rates of the reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (RT-PCR) of up to 61% (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Division of Viral Diseases, 2020; Kucirka et al., 2020) [2,3], imaging can be used as an important adjunct or alternative. Furthermore, there has been a shortage of test-kits worldwide and laboratories in many testing sites have struggled to process the available tests within a reasonable time frame. Given these issues surrounding COVID-19, many groups began to explore the benefits of 'big data' processing and algorithms to assist with the diagnosis and therapeutic development of COVID-19.